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StoriesMiranda Aisling ’13

Just Make Something

From her tiny house, artist and community organizer Miranda Aisling plans her next big venture.

Miranda Aisling dreams big, and her purple-hued tiny house is proof of that.

Two years ago, the artist, entrepreneur, and founder of the social enterprise Miranda’s Hearth, constructed her 240-square-foot house/public art project with over 50 volunteer builders. Inside, more than 100 artists contributed their work, from a scarf knitted by her mother (when her mom was just 12), to a handmade mahogany door, complete with a stained-glass window.

Miranda Aisling stands in the kitchen of her tiny house. Above her is her loft bedroom.
Miranda Aisling stands in her tiny house, built with the help of more than 50 volunteers.

Aubergine (the name of the house and the French word for eggplant) is the prototype for Miranda’s plan to open a community art hotel, where every room is filled with original works from local artists, along with common spaces for people to create on their own.

It’s a concept she came up with while a student at Lesley, and it serves as an example of how art and community drives everything she does.

“Art is often the goal, not the vehicle. I really view art as a vehicle,” she explains. “I think that human beings are specifically geared towards being in proximity to other people. That’s how we derive purpose from our lives.”

Miranda Aisling's artwork on the floor of her studio, abstract and colorful
Miranda Aisling's studio floor is covered in abstract paintings-in-progress.

Because she was never a natural at drawing, Miranda grew up thinking she couldn’t be a capital “A” artist. When she realized that art came in many forms, she not only felt free to pursue it herself but became an advocate for others to create, too. Her master’s thesis in her Arts, Community and Education program became a book, Don’t Make Art, Just Make Something, which also became her mantra.

Every Monday, she hosts free gatherings that give people space to do just that, often over food and beer.

“Creativity is one of the most formidable tools we use to build community,” says Miranda.

With the tiny house allowing her to step away from her 9–5 job, she invests most of her time developing Miranda’s Hearth and creating abstract paintings. Meanwhile, she and her board of directors are looking to partner with the local government and community to have the hotel open for business within the next few years.

Miranda Aisling stands outside of her purple tiny house nestled against a backdrop of trees.
Aubergine, the name of Miranda Aisling's tiny house, contains more than 100 pieces of original artwork on 240 square feet.

Ultimately, she’d like to see the art hotel concept replicated across the country, giving guests access to art as well as the stories behind each piece. That’s something she can do with the colorful and varied work that fills almost every inch of her home.

“That depth of experience is what the community art hotel concept is about,” she says.

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